V.E. Day. 1945. London. The country is celebrating the end of a long and painful war, and Princesses Elizabeth and Maragret want to join in. Granted freedom for the night – with conditions – the two head out for a night on the town, but it isn’t long before they are separated. Margaret ends up meeting a dashing man from the navy, who takes her on a tour around the darker side of London – whilst Elizabeth, our future Queen, tries to catch up with her sister, aided by the AWOL bomber pilot, Jack.
Set during one of the biggest celebrations our country has ever seen, it is really quite staggering how dull an affair A Royal Night Out is. It isn’t without its classical charms – the forties are lovingly brought to the screen through the music, costumes, and set design – the handsomely mounted production and great performances – the cast’s elocution tutor deserves an award – aren’t quite enough to save the film from its own monotony.
Its main problem is one that plagues similar films of its kind – getting the balance of fact and fiction just right. One gets the impression that writers Kevin Hood and Trevor De Silva are conscious of the fact that they can only get away with a certain amount of creative license, and therefore never take some of the film’s darker and potentially funnier moments, quite as far as I would have liked.
I didn’t laugh once – although I did chuckle slightly at the Princesses chaperones – and I struggled to become really invested in any of the characters, whether that be through annoying writing (Princess Margaret) or some bad acting (Jack).
A Royal Night Out trods along at a fair ol’ pace, looks good, and is performed well – but no laughs and boring characters make it difficult to recommend. It’s all a bit too safe for my liking and secretly I was wishing that things were just a little bit more messy. The Princesses end their night with a lovely cooked breakfast: I wish it’d ended with a kebab.
Image credit to http://www.telegraph.co.uk